a/n: Briefly exploring Emily and Hotch's relationship through…well, sex. Based on a prompt from a years old tumblr post:

Hotch/Prentiss, lust, this fire I cannot quench

Rated M for semi-smutty Emily and Hotch (whose pairing, by the way, I have always envisioned as purely alluded to, understated, and wrought with unresolved sexual tension…rather than overtly smutty. My brain decided to go with overt semi-smut on this one, though.)

I have to give the biggest thank you to DeejayMil for beta'ing this one for me (and for letting me borrow that thing about "shattering" :D)! I have learned a whole wonderful slew of things working with her.

He goes to visit her in Paris during the time she's presumed dead. It's risky, foolish, and entirely worth it.

Of the forty-eight hours he's there, approximately forty-five of them are spent in her bed. The other three are dedicated to shared showers and two brief jaunts down to the charming café on the corner for espresso and pain au chocolat.

When Emily, dressed only in an oversized Yale T-shirt and socks, opens her door to find Hotch on her doorstep, she hasn't a clue what the hell he might be doing there and automatically assumes one of the team is in trouble.

Her worry is dispelled when he backs her up against the nearest wall, hands twisted in her raven hair, lips pressed deliberately against hers. He doesn't wait: it is the first time they are together so intimately, and five years of acute sexual tension has her coming hard against his fingers with a shared gasp from them both.

Hotch raises his sticky fingers to his lips, eyes nearly black with desire, and Emily forgets, actually forgets, how to breathe as she watches him with wide eyes.

They're still in the front walk of her apartment, her T-shirt pushed up over her stomach and a thigh resting on his shoulder when he suddenly stands, lifts and carries her with ease, and quietly asks which way the bedroom is. They are the first words Emily has heard him utter since he arrived, and the gravelly thickness of that familiar voice sends a spark of longing through her body.

Emily learns Hotch is a quiet lover, the antithesis to her. She is vocal: she groans, sighs, moans, wails, strings a whole cacophony of beautiful sounds from her lips.

It's after one of their showers, and she is a stunning, damp tangle of limbs wrapped around his, when she traces figure eights on his broad chest and asks him why he came to Paris.

Hotch doesn't want to mar the beauty of the past day by admitting he has missed her fiercely, agonizingly. Because what would be the point? Doyle is still out there, a formidable enemy that carries with him the promise of death, and as long as that rings true, she can't return to D.C. with him.

So as to not complicate matters, her silences her with a roll of his hips against hers, burying her question in the delicious press of him into her.

The forty-eight hours are over all too quickly.

Hotch leaves her, leaves Paris, lending no inkling as to how this…thing might play out. All she knows is that nothing in her life has felt quite so brilliant.

She comes home to him when Declan is in danger.

They save the inordinate amount of paperwork for tomorrow, and he takes her home. JJ begs Emily to come stay with her and Will, but she declines in favor of a hotel. Hotch assures the team he will drive her there.

Instead, they become a blur of yearning, rocking bodies fixed to one another on Hotch's balcony, Emily gripping his shoulders tightly enough to leave half-moon blemishes on his skin.

When she squeezes exquisitely around him, and "Oh fuck, Emily," slips loudly from his open mouth, Emily stifles a laugh and places a finger to his lips.

"Shhh," she murmurs. "We don't want all of metro D.C. knowing what Aaron Hotchner does on his balcony."

It's a marvelous feat, but they come in unison, pressed so tightly together they feel the other's heartbeat skip, race, and eventually slow.

Nothing changes between them at the office despite the fact that they spend the following night together. And the next. And the next. He continues to lead his team with precision and imperturbability, and she kicks down doors and consoles victims' families just as she always has.

He is still BAU Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner and she SSA Emily Prentiss. Two separate beings at work that become one when the day ends.

She breaks down one night while he's still inside her.

It's after Regina Lampert's biting words, which have settled as a lump of bitter emotions in Emily's throat that don't resolve when she tells him she's having a bad day.

All she knows is that it's the first time she's cried since Doyle died and why the fuck did my brain decide now was a good time for this?

It's an inexplicable something about the tender way Hotch brushes his lips across her earlobe and grips her hand tightly in his, anchoring her, tying them together, when she arches upward with a cry of pleasure.

Following almost instantly, there are fat, glistening tears rolling down her flushed cheeks, and her chest heaves with the effort. And although he is awfully perplexed, Hotch does nothing but tug her closer and kiss her tears dry, his own pleasure immediately forgotten.

They are locked together like a sloth wrapped around a tree trunk, an unyielding jumble of arms and legs, he on top of her and still inside her, although unmoving.

With eyes still full of tears, Emily simply cradles him there, reveling in the throbbing fullness both between her legs and in her heart. There is such a staggering disparity between the coarseness of Ian and the warmth of Aaron.

For the first time in decades, Emily feels safe in a man's arms, and it's both terrifying and exhilarating and is the reason she finds herself weeping.

Their coupling goes on for several months, unnoticed by the rest of the team.

They choose to keep it that way because they themselves have yet to admit to one another this thing might actually be something.

During JJ's wedding is when Hotch first perceives that something feels… unusual.

Later, as he kneels between her open thighs while she perches precariously on his washing machine, he knows for certain something is up.

In between the expert flick of his tongue against her soaked flesh, he murmurs something about love, of all damn things.

She tenses.

He senses it instantly.

Emily gently tugs on his hair, suggesting she wants him to stand up and come eye level to her. His breath hitches when their eyes meet.

"Clyde asked me to run the London gateway office," she hums softly in his ear.

And just like that, everything fucking shatters.

And just like that, everything comes together again.

What slips from her lips next stitches his world back together, piece-by-piece.

From her spot on top of the washing machine, she winds her legs around his hips and hooks her ankles together, effectively pinning him to her and says, "I'm not going, Aaron. I love you."

He has waited nine months to hear those words, and when he hears them he knows he'll never need anything else ever again. It's like one thousand shooting stars streaking across the sky, setting his heart alight. It's like a burst of unbridled laughter from Jack's mouth. It's like falling asleep in front of a warm, ebbing fire. It's like laying his eyes on Emily for the first time twenty-eight years ago.

He says it back to her, a husky whisper that sends a surge of elation down her spine.

"Aaron, please," she begs, widening her stance for him to find purchase between her legs.

It is a perfect fit, him in her. Him with her. Together.

He goes to visit her in Paris during the time she's presumed dead. It's risky, foolish, and entirely worth it.